Version 2.4 of Rescuezilla — which describes itself as the “Swiss Army Knife of system recovery,” — is here and based on Ubuntu 22.04.
Rescuezilla is a fork and continuation of the Redo Backup and Recovery project. “Redo” went silent after 2012, with no new releases until 2020. So, in 2019, the developers behind Rescuezilla Redo forked, updated it and continued development.
Since then, the older project is coming back to life. A hostile third party had bought his domain name, so instead of paying the typo-squatters’ ransom, its developers were simply renamed to the project Redo rescue and work started again under the new name. (The old URL, which we don’t link to, now points to an ad site – so you should probably avoid it.) It looks like Rescuezilla is a friendly fork, as the maintainers of Redo Rescue actually link to it. (Good on them!)
RedoRescue is again in active development: there is a new version 4.0, based on Debian 11, released in October 2021, although the website still describes version 3 of 2020. Even so, Rescuezilla is still a bit more modern. It is now based on Ubuntu instead of Debian, and version 2.4 updates this to Ubuntu 22.04.
The release notes mention a problem with graphics drivers and there should be a version 2.4.1 that fixes this very soon – but saying that, The Reg FOSS desk encountered no problems with it either in a VM or on bare metal.
There are many screenshots of Rescuezilla’s main screen on the website, but more useful tools are located in the start menu
Rescuezilla seems to be a handy tool, although perhaps not as versatile as it has. We watched Clonezilla 3 recently and the core functionality is quite similar, but Rescuezilla wraps a friendly GUI around the rather intimidating, text-only mode Clonezilla. It has two core functions, the first of which it calls Backup and Restore, and the second of which it calls Clone.
The former images an entire drive to an image file on a removable device or over the network, or restores such an image to a drive. The last function, Clone, works directly disk-to-disk. The main screen also has functions to verify an image, or to explore its content. And it is possible to limit the functions to just certain partitions.
If those features aren’t what you want, there are also links on the desktop to Firefox—in this version, a natively packaged version rather than a Snap—and to Gparted, a text editor and a terminal emulator. There is a minimal LXDE desktop, and the start menu has an image viewer, a file manager, a screenshot tool, and the text-mode TestDisk file recovery tool and PhotoRec, which can scan damaged or corrupt media for image files.
Rescuezilla claims to be able to handle a wide range of disk formats and file systems, including Windows and Mac volumes, so while NetBSD is obviously niche, we thought it could handle a BSD FFS volume. Since we still had it on hand, we tried Rescuezilla on our VM look at NetBSD 9.3 earlier this weekbut it was not able to mount the volumes.
Rescuezilla’s range of functionality isn’t bad at all, but at least we’d like to see it very useful as well Boat Repair included. Currently, you can copy partitions back to a disk, but you can’t reinstall GRUB to make them bootable, which is a serious omission.
Perhaps reaching even further, some tools to clean up broken Windows machines would also help. Rescuezilla has kernel 4.15 as well as NTFS-3G and the
ntfsfix command preload, so if you know how to manipulate Windows disks, you can try manual repairs, but some additional automation wouldn’t hurt. Say, a script to find Windows partitions, delete the paging, swap and hibernation files, and empty all Temp folders and then schedule a disk check. This would be a big win.
Rescuezilla has more options than Redo Rescue, and it’s much friendlier than Clonezilla, so it beats both. Having said that, there is still room for improvement: we’d like to see bootloader recovery options for starters. Until then, although this is a useful tool that will replace Clonezilla on the writer’s emergency USB key, we will keep System Rescue 9 and Hiren’s BootCD PE on that too. ®
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